Being a member of the British royal family comes with tons of benefits, but keeping your own birthday presents isn't one of them. On Saturday, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, celebrated her 37th birthday, and she no doubt received plenty of presents for the special occasion. Unfortunately, The Mirror reports that she'll return a lot of them, as per the royal family's guidelines. "The fundamental principle governing the acceptance of gifts by Members of The Royal Family is that no gifts, including hospitality or services, should be accepted which would, or might appear to, place the Member of The Royal Family under any obligation to the donor," the guidelines state, according to The Mirror.
This means, The Mirror reported, that she would normally have to return anything from a business. This includes samples, although if it costs too much to return, she can probably keep it. (A souvenir of an official visit is OK, too.) Markle would also have to give back money, obviously, unless she accepts it on behalf of a charity.
But it's not all bad. The Mirror reports that the duchess would get to keep gifts from public bodies in the U.K., like trade associations, and things from people she doesn't know if they're flowers, food, non-controversial books from the author themselves, and anything else that doesn't cost more than £150 (around $194). But there's a catch: if she has concerns about the sender's motives, she'll have to send it back.
These rules are the same reason why the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had to give back $9.3 million in wedding gifts following their nuptials in May. That's a lot of boxes. It's also why they asked people to donate to charity instead of sending gifts.
"The couple have personally chosen 7 charities which represent a range of issues that they are passionate about, including sport for social change, women's empowerment, conservation, the environment, homelessness, HIV and the Armed Forces," Kensington Palace said at the time.